Koulourakia (Greek Cookies)

These are vegan, healthy and easy to make – although I had an epic fail the first time I made them! The recipe for these delicious Greek biscuits came from Kyria Georgia, our wonderful holiday landlady from Aroni in Chania, Crete. She brought these upstairs to us fresh from the oven (she came every other day with one of her fabulous home-cooked dishes :-)) needless to say – they were demolished very quickly! These are my favourite cookies to have with my mid-morning coffee on my balcony and think about my next trip to Greece 🙂 The original recipe featured ammonia bicarbonate (this is really old school Greek and makes the biscuits extra crispy), however, the strength of the one I ordered must have been industrial as it tasted like petrol! I have adapted the recipe a bit – but these came out really well and were fun to make!

4 x cups of organic plain flour
1 x cup coconut sugar (or normal sugar)
1 1/2 cups of olive oil
2 x large oranges – (zest of 1 orange and juice of both)
1 x cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice
3 x tsp cinnamon
1 x tsp ground cloves
1/2 x tsp salt
1 x tsp baking powder
1 x tsp bicarbonate of soda

Set your oven to 180 degrees before you start with your ingredients.
Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with baking parchment.
Get 2 large bowls ready.
Add you flour, orange zest, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to one bowl and stir everything together.
In your other bowl tip in the juice of the 2 oranges, the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and the olive oil and combine together.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a bit at a time and stir with a wooden spoon, the mixture will start to get thicker and will be quite oily. When the ingredients have all been mixed well together – leave for about 5 minutes to thicken a little.
Clear a large part of your worktop in order to start rolling the dough into balls. Take some of the mixture, which should be stiff enough to roll into small balls (the size of small meatball) the mixture is oily (this will evaporate during cooking) so be careful where you are placing the little balls! you don’t need to flour the surface as the mixture doesn’t stick.
Keep making little balls until all the mixture is gone – I made about 43 cookies.
Now you can roll each little ball on the worktop into a cigar shape and lay on the parchment paper – remember to leave a gap between each cookie as they will expand in the oven. You can make any shape you want really – you can make into an ‘S’ shape as in the picture above. You could at this point roll the cigar shapes in sesame seeds and bake.
I baked 2 trays first (I only have 2 baking trays!) then baked another 2 trays after.
Bake in total for 20 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
Your house will smell like Christmas by now! My kids love these – so they tend to disappear very quickly!

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